Momentum - April 2020 - 7


The Purdue University car charges down
the track during the Endurance event at
Formula SAE Michigan 2019.


Purdue University's Formula
SAE team makes good racecars,
even better engineers.
FEW PROGRAMS ENCOURAGE student learning like SAE
International's Collegiate Design Series (CDS). One of
the CDS competitions, Formula SAE (FSAE), challenges
college students from all over the world to design and
build a small racecar within one school year. The goal
is to create an easily reproducible, nonprofessional
weekend autocross racecar prototype that costs about
$30,000. SAE's various restrictions on the open-wheel,
open-cockpit concept cars are meant to inspire creativity
among the teams. The best designs should be low-cost,
easily maintained, reliable, and-of course-fast.
Formula SAE consists of events to test the design,
acceleration, skid-pad performance, autocross, endurance,
and other aspects of the student-designed cars. The
racecars go through an acceleration event where they
travel 75 meters as fast as possible. Most will take less
than 5 seconds and reach over 60 mph. Then, their
cornering ability is tested in a constant-radius turn as
drivers make continuous figure eights with 25-foot radius
circles. The autocross event tests the racecar's braking
and maneuverability around cones. Finally, endurance and
fuel economy are tested over a 13.66-mile heat.

2004_SG_4-13.indd 7

The Purdue University FSAE team has been a fixture at the school
for 27 years. The team, which has between 30 and 40 active members,
has students from all of the university's engineering departments and
year-round classes. Former FSAE team member and Purdue alum Todd
Nelson is the team's advisor. "It was what I learned at FSAE that I took
with me and used pretty much every day in the workforce. And so
coming back to be with these guys is really about trying to get them to
have the best learning experience possible," said Nelson.
Purdue owns a Grand Prix track just off campus, which students can
reserve for FSAE preparation when there are no other major Purdue
events. In addition, the School of Mechanical Engineering provides the
team access to its Student Machine Shop, which has six manual mills,
four manual lathes, two CNC mills, and one CNC lathe among a variety
of other metal and wood working machines. Nelson explained, "The ME
Student Machine Shop has two full-time professional machinists that
help students learn how to use the equipment and work alongside the
students to use the CNC machines."
The students perform all the design and fabrication for the vehicle,
which requires a lot of hands-on application of their engineering
curriculum. "We will basically make the entire car," said sophomore
Adam Dewey, drivetrain team leader. "There are a few things that we
don't make, like the engine, the shocks, and the tires. Other than that,
we essentially make everything in-house." The club is divided into
sub-teams for systems such as suspension, chassis, powertrain, and
aerodynamics, each with its own student leader.
Purdue's 2019 car boasts an 85-hp engine that allows a 0 to 60
acceleration in 3.5 seconds and a maximum speed of over 90 mph.
While all the body work and aero components are carbon fiber, most
of the racecar was made from 4130 steel and 6061/7055 aluminum.
Almost every mold and CNC-machined component was made in-house
April 2020 7

3/19/20 11:25 AM


Momentum - April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - April 2020

Momentum - April 2020
Start a new SAE Chapter in your life
Focused on design
Taking the classroom to the racetrack
Great moments happen due to the work of many
ONE-ON-ONE – Emily Kerr
Sticking to the schedule
GM deploying electricals of the future in new architecture
Myers Awards winners named
SAE 101: Industry Leadership Award
Dossier: Justin Lange of John Deere
Focusing on the ‘E’ in STEM
Momentum - April 2020 - Momentum - April 2020
Momentum - April 2020 - Cover2
Momentum - April 2020 - 1
Momentum - April 2020 - Start a new SAE Chapter in your life
Momentum - April 2020 - BENEFITS U
Momentum - April 2020 - Focused on design
Momentum - April 2020 - 5
Momentum - April 2020 - 6
Momentum - April 2020 - Taking the classroom to the racetrack
Momentum - April 2020 - 8
Momentum - April 2020 - Great moments happen due to the work of many
Momentum - April 2020 - ONE-ON-ONE – Emily Kerr
Momentum - April 2020 - 11
Momentum - April 2020 - Sticking to the schedule
Momentum - April 2020 - 13
Momentum - April 2020 - BRIEFS
Momentum - April 2020 - GM deploying electricals of the future in new architecture
Momentum - April 2020 - Myers Awards winners named
Momentum - April 2020 - SAE 101: Industry Leadership Award
Momentum - April 2020 - Dossier: Justin Lange of John Deere
Momentum - April 2020 - 19
Momentum - April 2020 - Focusing on the ‘E’ in STEM
Momentum - April 2020 - Cover3
Momentum - April 2020 - Cover4